Necessity is the mother of invention. In our world beset by the international crisis caused by the COVID-19 disease, one necessity is being made painfully clear: more medical facilities for the PUIs and COVID-positive. High-profile private hospitals are turning away patients. Public hospitals are left with no choice but to maximize every inch of space to accommodate the sick and under investigation. Doctors need enough space to treat their patients, and patients need enough space to recuperate. Our country needs them now and needs them fast.
Hospital architect Dan Lichuaco was recently featured in an article proposing a DIY home isolation room. The purpose is to successfully isolate PUIs and patients with mild symptoms at home, thereby reducing hospital load. It’s a good idea, showcasing that Filipino trademark resourcefulness in the face of adversity.
Inspired by this, Cubesystem Principal Architect, Ar. Rowland Agullana decided to take a different tack and approach the problem from the health care providers’ point of view. Our proposal aims to repurpose 20-ft shipping containers as modular and isolated medical room units. Shipping containers are sturdy and reusable–you may have seen them used for commercial and residential builds. Cubesystem envisions them as quick-build isolation rooms that can be positioned on any stretch of open ground.
Since the containers are modular, they can work with multiple configurations and placements. This plan can accommodate the different building layouts, and may even fit in most hospital car parks. In accordance with the urgency of our current situation, the objective is quick installation to address the ballooning number of COVID-19 cases. St. Luke’s, in particular, has a huge carpark, ready to be remodeled as the proving ground for this proposal.
Each container can be retrofitted with proper airconditioning and ventilation, and can comfortably accommodate two patients. A sealed modular tent with a disinfection area protects the entrances, and provides a lobby of sorts to the medical staff, who have easy access to eight isolation rooms (16 patients). A smaller 10-ft container can serve as a waste chamber for discarded PPEs, masks, and other hazardous waste.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis of global scale. Everyone needs to do their part, and our medical personnel are bearing the brunt of immense responsibility. We need to help them in any way we can. We might place a limit on our contact and actions, but our empathy and pakikisama as Filipinos must run unfettered.